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6 Utah women honored by Geena Davis Institute

By Carole Makita | Posted - Jan 23rd, 2014 @ 6:45pm

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SALT LAKE CITY — Academy Award and Golden Globe winning actress Geena Davis led a discussion about women in leadership positions in government, business and the entertainment industry at a Sundance Institute event Thursday.

In 2004, Davis founded the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media to help shed light on the problem that women are under-represented in many American industries.

Davis shared the latest findings during the Sundance Film Festival Utah Women's leadership celebration luncheon where six Utah women received honors. The recipients all agree that there is a lack of female role models, which extends well beyond popular culture.

"When you have diversity, you get a variety of perspectives," said Laura Kaiser, executive vice president and COO for Intermountain Healthcare. "So, why wouldn't we want to increase the level of women involved in all kinds of industries?"

Sen. Pat Jones is Assistant Minority Whip, representing District 4: "We only have 16 percent females in our state legislature. And women and men have different views on different issues, for example, education and gun policies and so forth. There's a huge gender gap, just on those two."

Utah Supreme Court Justice Christine Durham: "We don't come close to parity with our male counterparts. And it's not fair to the women of the state of Utah that their voices are not more fully represented in places of power and influence."

Despite a few female ensemble casts, like "A League of Their Own," Davis said most Hollywood films have the same number of women as they did in 1946. But, she believes the latest poll from her nonprofit institute is building awareness.

"68 percent said what they learned had impacted two or more of their projects, and 41 percent said it had impacted four or more of their projects. So, we really feel like we're making progress," Davis said.


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